Katrina Disaster Blog

This is a running list compiled by CBSNews.com staffers of the latest developments in the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

1:13 p.m.
CAPITOL HILL (AP) — Congress is promising to hold hearings as it conducts its own investigation into the federal response to Hurricane Katrina. Sen. Susan Collins says "government at all levels failed." The Republican from Maine says it's difficult to understand the ineffective response to a disaster that had been warned about for years. Congress has formally returned today from a five-week summer break, with lawmakers signaling that hurricane relief efforts will be a top priority in the weeks ahead.

12:40 p.m.
NEW YORK (CBS) — The Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that approximately 100,000 articles of children's, women's and men's clothing seized for counterfeiting violations of trademark laws are being donated to the hurricane evacuees sheltered at the Houston Astrodome. Included are polos, jeans, blouses, slacks and jackets, which are set to arrive at 2 p.m. in a convoy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection trucks. CBP spokespeople could not immediately find which brands or companies agreed to donate their seized clothing to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, but CBP spokeswoman Paula Keicer told CBSNews.com that bulk seized items aren't usually donated; they are typically destroyed.

12:32 p.m.
WHITE HOUSE (AP) — President Bush says he'll lead an investigation into what went wrong — and why — as the federal government responded to Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Bush told reporters today he's also sending Vice President Dick Cheney to the Gulf Coast region on Thursday, to help find out if the government is doing all it can.

President Bush says the investigation is partly aimed at making sure the country could withstand more storms, or an attack. He said, "We still live in an unsettled world."

11:52 a.m.
(CBS) — Immediately after a White House Cabinet meeting Tuesday morning, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said approximately 200 FBI agents are working in the hurricane-ravaged Gulf region. He said the Department of Justice is "throwing every available body" into work there. The department will be "monitoring crime rates" and trying to figure out "how to help long-term," he said.

11:40 a.m.
(CBS) — The State Department has now received offers of assistance from 94 countries and international organizations, CBS News reports. Among the most recent international aid to arrive were three flights of ready-to-eat meals from Germany. Italy sent a plane loaded with MREs and medical supplies.

In addition, new pledges of aid include:
  • The Maldives — $25,000 to the Red Cross
  • Albania — $300,000 to the Red Cross
  • Ireland — $1 million to the Red Cross
  • Yemen — $ 100,000 to the Red Cross
  • Czech Republic — relief supplies and medical teams

    11:32 a.m.
    (CBS) — A State Department team has arrived in New Orleans hoping to gain access to the a high rise building on Canal Street. Meanwhile, there have been inquiries into about 700 to 800 missing foreigners. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged any foreigners in the disaster zone to contact their embassies or consulates or to check in with the American Red Cross.

    11:13 a.m.
    AUSTIN, Texas (CBS/AP) — The trip out of New Orleans has been no cruise for the evacuees, and they don't want it to be, either. Some Hurricane Katrina refugees in Texas have balked at the prospect of trading the Houston Astrodome for a cruise ship, forcing officials to postpone a plan to move them. Officials of the Hurricane Katrina Houston Response delayed the cruise ship plan, saying some people just want to stay where they are to concentrate on finding lost loved ones. Others indicated another move right now would just be too much.

    10:59 a.m.
    Watch for a special edition of CBS News' 48 Hours tonight at 8 p.m. The program, Disaster in the Delta, explores what went wrong and why it took so long to rescue tens of thousands of people. Reporting for this special will be CBS News correspondents John Roberts, Lee Cowan, Trish Regan, Peter Van Sant, Bill Whitaker and Richard Schlesinger.

    10:13 a.m.
    (CBS) — The BBC reports that a Web site is being used to unite families after missing children were separated from their parents by Hurricane Katrina. The U.S. Department of Justice asked the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to set up a process to find and reunite those caught up across Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama.

    "Photos, names, and descriptions of missing adults, children, as well as relocated children, are being posted to the website," the BBC reports.

    9:26 a.m.
    (CBS) — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this morning there will be plenty of time to focus on the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina but that now it is time to move forward with the relief effort. Rice also urged any foreigners who were in the area when Katrina hit to contact their embassies and consulates in the United States or to check in with the American Red Cross.

    9:14 a.m.
    (CBS/AP) — As thousands of Gulf State residents cope with destroyed houses and struggle to find food, people across the United States say one incident published in newspapers and online and seen on TV touched them. People everywhere are trying to help reunite a young New Orleans boy with his dog, Snowball. The story of the tearful boy torn from his dog by an official while being shuttled to safety last week prompted an outpouring from around the country.

    Volunteers have been scouring shelters, posting notes on the Internet and making phone calls. The head of the Louisiana SPCA says "Everyone wants to know about Snowball."

    8:45 a.m.
    (CBS) — Hurricane Katrina delivered fear and anxiety to many, but a particular vulnerability has hit noncitizens, many of whom are unsure if their legal status is in jeopardy. The New York Times reports that immigrants are worried about losing their visas by leaving the country temporarily and that other jobs will not accept them without citizenship. For example, the Times spoke with Bran Dize, a prep cook from Spanish Town, Jamaica, who said his guest-worker visa requires him to work at the Beau Rivage casino, which the hurricane might have destroyed.

    Another issue: "The Mexican government has opened two mobile consulates in the affected areas, one in Mobile, Ala., and the other in Baton Rouge, La., to begin looking for tens of thousands of their citizens reported missing," the Times writes.

    7:37 a.m.
    HOUSTON (AP) — Former first lady Barbara Bush is getting attention for some of the comments she made about New Orleans evacuees who are now in Houston. In an interview with the American Public Media program "Marketplace," she said the relocation is "working very well" for some of those forced out of New Orleans. She noted that many of the people at the Astrodome were "underprivileged anyway." Her comments came as former Presidents Bush and Clinton visited with hundreds of storm victims and announced the creation of the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund.

    7:21 a.m.
    NEW YORK (AP) — The families of 9/11 victims are reaching out to hurricane survivors, even as they prepare to mark the fourth anniversary of the attacks. The relatives of one firefighter say they plan to create the "Nine-Eleven Families for Katrina Relief Fund" this week. Another group may join forces with charitable institutions to start a relief drive.

    7:10 a.m.
    (CBS) — Two of the major relief effort charities for Hurricane Katrina have received pledges and donations totaling nearly a half-billion dollars. As of Monday evening, the American Red Cross has been given and pledged $409 million. The Salvation Army, as of Monday afternoon, received $47 million.

    12:05 a.m.
    COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — Habitat for Humanity is laying the groundwork for its largest construction project yet, a blitz build of thousands of homes along the Gulf Coast for people left homeless by Hurricane Katrina.

    "Operation Home Delivery" is expected to start later this month in Jackson, Miss., where volunteers will assemble housing frames and put them on trucks bound for Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. About 30 volunteers per house will then do a blitz build, constructing each house in about a week. More than $450,000 in donations have already poured in for the project, which will likely take years.

    "Hurricane Katrina may be second only to the Asian tsunami in the amount of devastation, destruction and human suffering," said former President Jimmy Carter, who has volunteered with Habitat for over 20 years. "And just as with the tsunami, unprecedented destruction and suffering calls for an outpouring of generous response."

    Read previous Katrina Disaster Blogs:
    Sept. 5, Sept. 4, Sept. 3, Sept. 2, Sept. 1, Aug. 31

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